TITLE: Red Letter Day (3/5)
CHARACTERS: Lee, Bill, and others.
SUMMARY: It's Bill Adama's Birthday! What is Lee up to?
DISCLAIMER: Battlestar Galactica and all the characters therein belong to Ron Moore and his team of writers. I make no profit from this, I'm only playing with them, and honestly Ron says I can...
SPOILERS: Happens sometime in the middle of Season 3, presumably between A Day in Life and Dirty Hands. Slightly spoiler-ish to the opening scene in The Son Also Rise, but it's mostly AU.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is written in celebration of The Adama Realm's 3rd anniversary!
Dim lights shone through the porthole grille, faintly illuminated the holding cell. The semi-darkness was a convenient veil that enshrouded the captive. Not that it really mattered anyway. There was no one else here to check up on him. He has been left utterly alone.
Maybe they've deemed he's not worth the trouble any more. Really, what could he have done? When he was not drugged out of his mind, they figured he would've been too tormented by the withdrawals to do anything.
They were right of course, almost. They had forgotten he's a well trained soldier, or maybe they just didn't understand what that entails. Few realized his callsign was named Apollo not because of his impressive lineage, nor his pretty face.
He tested his bond. It's not ready to give yet. The effect of the stim had lessened awhile ago. He was left feeling hollow and hungry for more. His ever-present conscience, weakened as it may be, was still there, telling him this is wrong and urging him he must do something before it gets too late. He knew he didn't have much time. Either the withdrawals would hit him full force, or his captors would come back to give him yet another injection.
Gods, he craved those shots now. One sting in the arm, it would rid him the terrible ache that's been developing, and fill his emptiness with contentment. Shamed by this yenning, he was afraid he would loose his rational thoughts soon. He must get on with his escape plan. But first, he needed to free his hands.
He supposed he ought to feel lucky that his captors used ropes instead of shackles on him. Earlier, he had found a protruding metal ledge at the base of a wall. Its edge jagged from years of abuse. Since then, he has been rubbing the restraint against it, hoping the friction would fray and cut through the thick rope.
The action caused the already tight bond to dig deeper into his wrists. The biting pain however, was a focal point that enabled him to block out other agonies so that he could concentrate on his task.
"Swish", "swish", "swish"... He continued the back and forth sawing, never stopping except to check his progress.
Finally, the bond gave a little. His heart pounded. With a sharp intake of breath, and teeth clenched tight, he forced his wrists apart as much as he could and scraped harder. The rope snapped.
He let out a ragged breath, and took a moment to collect himself. His arms were sore from being forced at his back for too long. Then, clumsily, he untied the rope at his ankle.
Fueled by this small breakthrough, his adrenaline surged for the first time in a long while.
"Hurry up, Lee! Keep moving!" Apollo hummed, egging himself on to the next stage of the game plan.
Some time ago, he deduced he was still on Prometheus. It made logical sense. Why would his captors risk transporting him to somewhere else when they were already at their den? Besides, the room looked familiar.
While overseeing the black market, Lee had studied Prometheus and its layout. He recognized this makeshift holding cell as one of the secret rooms frequented by Phelan's men. He knew they favored this place for nefarious exploits because it's situated all the way in the back. He also noticed behind one of its walls, is the small utility closet where the aft environmental controls are concealed.
The tiny space could make a rather nice hideaway. It's hardly noticeable to the untrained eyes. Lee was betting the average thugs here wouldn't pay attention to this obscure detail.
The only challenge though was the cubbyhole is located 8 feet above the ground.
Fortunately, the metal walls here, like those on many other ships, are lined with horizontal grooves. Under normal circumstance, it would not be a big deal for Apollo to scale these surfaces. However he could barely stand without holding onto something at the moment and worse still, he's getting even weaker by the minute.
"Come on Lee, you can do this!" Apollo reminded himself.
Despite waves of aches wracking his body, he reached over his head with trembling arms, and hooked his fingers into a narrow cleft on the wall. Catching a deep breath, he hauled himself up while wedging his toes, one foot at a time, in between another thin recess above the ground. Like that, Apollo began his arduous ascent...
By the time he reached his goal, he was shaking all over. Sweat glistened off his clammy skin, his cheeks bright with reddish glow of fever. It was his sheer determination that got him thus far. Only one more step to go--
Breath heaving, Apollo unlatched the access panel of the compartment and pushed it inward...
Dee was getting frustrated. The normally composed girl was loosing her patience.
She has been doggedly going through the communication logs of the day her husband disappeared. But so far, she hasn't been able to discover anything unusual.
The problem was she didn't know exactly what she was looking for. All she knew was she didn't trust that picture of Lee Kara brought back. Something was off.
She just couldn't accept Lee was that weak minded. On the contrary, she knew the man she fell in love with is very much like his father, the most stalwart person she has ever known. Besides, this didn't fit well with Lee's morale lately. If it was a couple of months ago, Dee might have been worried. But since their talk at Joe's Bar that night, things have been good, and Lee was most at peace with himself as he's ever been.
Of course Dee was troubled that her husband didn't let on what he was doing on Prometheus. Why all the secrecy? But then again, Lee didn't always share everything with her either.
Dee brought her hand down hard on the console table. Frak! She just went through the last log for that day, and there was nothing.
Shaking her head, she spotted Hoshi nearby.
"Are these everything we have logged?" She questioned desperately.
"Yes, these are the logs of all the complete calls and transmissions that came through on Admiral's birthday." Hoshi answered confidently.
"Complete? Wait, you mean there were partial calls?" Dee was angry with herself for overlooking this detail.
"Uhm, yes," Hoshi squirmed. He saw where Dee was going with this. "But there really wasn't much to go on. Those transmissions could be anything."
As the formal communications specialist, Dee fully understood what Hoshi was talking about. She used to get wrong calls or mixed up transmissions occasionally. After all, these other ships are civilians, and they are not used to military protocols. If a dropped transmission were important, whoever sent it would always get back to her. Otherwise, she never dwelt on it given there really wasn't much she could do anyway.
But now she's hunting for clues, so she'd look through anything she could get her hands on.
Hoshi brought her the additional logs. There were only a few. It wouldn't take long to go through the whole thing. Pouring over them, she spotted it right away--
By gods, this has to be it! Dee tore the page off the log book and ran out of CIC.
She sat in the uncomfortable chair next to the old man's desk, listening to him asking questions she didn't want to think about:
"Kara, you are his best friend. Tell me what's going on with my son."
She sucked in her breath. "Shouldn't you ask Dee this instead, Sir?"
"I have." Bill looked down at the glass of ambrosia in his hand. He twirled it gently. Then raising his head, he locked eyes with Kara as he continued: "She said things had been good with him. He seemed happy."
"Right." Kara clicked her tongue, and looked away.
Bill exhaled. "But with Lee, one can never know for sure." He thought of the lie he always believed until the truth smacked him in the face on his anniversary. In deed, his son was very good at putting up a front to hide his pains. "Or maybe it was me," Bill thought moodily, "not paying close enough attention to see what's right in front of me."
"We all have our moments, Sir." Kara chimed in. It was her turn to look down this time. She wiped her hand on her green fatigues. She had the urge to grab that bottle of ambrosia on the desk and down the liquid inside in one gulp.
Sometimes she wondered if the old man had any inkling on what happened with her and Lee. Then again, even she was at a loss defining what's between them. Gods, she missed Lee, missed his closeness. She had chosen Sam. He's a good man. She should be content. But in the still of the night while she was asleep, why did she always dream of Lee instead?
Was Lee having as difficult a time dealing with the choice he made as she was?
"I ordered the marines to keep searching the fleet, Kara. We need to bring him home no matter what. That's our priority." Bill downed the drink in his hand.
"I've checked reports with Tigh and the President." He droned on. "Things are relatively quiet everywhere. There doesn't seem much going on with the black market either."
Kara opened her mouth to reply. But she was cut off by the loud bang on the hatch.
"Come in." Bill was surprised too.
Before the sound of his voice even died down, Dee burst through the entry way waving a piece of paper in her hand.
Lee hid inside the utility compartment. He had put the access panel back in place. However, he did not seal it tight. He left a sliver of gap along the edge so that he could peer through it at the room down below.
His body hasn't stopped the tremor since he crawled inside. Now, his stomach rolled. Lying on the floor, he curled into a tight ball and bit his lip to keep the moan from escaping.
He didn't know how much time had passed. He almost missed the clanking sound of the hatch opening down below.
Two burly men entered the cell, one carrying a syringe. This is it. The juice loaded here is strong enough to kill their prisoner.
Words were out already--the illustrious Apollo is a stim junkie. People have been talking. When his body is discovered, they'd think the hapless chap merely overdosed.
The two men flipped on the switch, and stared dumbfoundedly as the light flooded the room.
HOLY FRAK! Where did the guy go?!
The cell was empty except for the ropes snaking on the ground. If it weren't for those, the men would've thought they had somehow entered the wrong room. But they were fairly certain these were the same ropes that were used to tie their prisoner.
They searched around. There wasn't much to see. The room is small and sparse, not many places to hide. It was obvious to them the prisoner was no longer here. They couldn't imagine how he could have gotten away though, as the cell has only one exit and it was locked tight from the outside.
"Did someone else come to get him already?" One guy had an epiphany.
The other one shrugged. They had better go and report this to their boss right away.
Without further ado, they rushed out of the room, leaving the hatch wide open.
Lee waited several more minutes to make sure the men were not coming back.
So far so good. But getting down from where he was proved to be another challenge. No way under his current condition, he could climb all the way down.
He eyed the distance. Oh frak! Before he could give it too much thought, he leaped.
Lee landed with a thud, and rolled to the side to carry the momentum. Gods, it hurts. His breath was knocked out of him. This definitely wasn't one of Apollo's graceful landings.
He tried to push himself off the floor. Pain shot through his sides. Frak! He wondered if he had broken any ribs. He's positive he had sprained his ankle. But he can't stay here. He has to keep moving.
Slowly, he crawled on the floor. He had a single thought on his mind--he must get through that open hatch...